ASTANA – The protection of human rights should be an integral part of the country’s reforms, said the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, during his March 17 meeting with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, reported the Akorda press service.
Türk’s visit to Kazakhstan on March 16-17 follows his trip to Uzbekistan on March 13-15.
Welcoming the UN official, Tokayev emphasized the importance of his visit for strengthening cooperation between the sides and added that Kazakhstan is ready to establish close contacts and exchange information on human rights protection.
Kazakhstan has ratified fundamental UN conventions and protocols and created working mechanisms to ensure active interaction in the field of human rights at the national level.
Türk commended the level of cooperation between the UN office and Kazakhstan on protecting human rights.
In Kazakhstan, Türk also met with senior government officials, the countries’ ombudspersons, UN officials and civil society organizations.
The human rights issue was high on the national agenda on Friday, as Tokayev also signed a law to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment and expand the rights of convicts.
The document introduces liability for cruel or degrading treatment, tougher criminal liability for torture, and expands the use and possibilities of audio and video recording of investigative actions to prevent illegal actions.
The law also expands the rights of convicted persons. In case of a severe illness, they will be granted the right to a deferment, and it becomes possible for convicts to receive surgical treatment in medical institutions. The court decision on releasing convicts due to serious illness will be executed immediately.
The amendments are designed to strengthen the guarantees of human rights and improve the conditions of detention of convicts, increasing their safety and providing an opportunity for correction and social rehabilitation.